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Comment: Response to ‘Help! Windows 7 is upon us’

In this featured comment the head of Science IT responds to the criticism of the Windows 7 roll-out

Pepijn Kooij has written a featured comment in the University Post regarding roll-out of Windows 7 in Biology that requires a response.

First of all this is not ONLY about Windows 7.

The comment below the header is worth a thought, as safety-conscious IT-users know the importance of protecting their data. This is why it is vital to store data, not on the individual computer but on a shared drive, to ensure regular back up by SCIENCE IT.

The message from SCIENCE IT reads: If you have data stored on your computer, you have to transfer it to the shared drive, alternatively to an external hard drive (USB), before the machine is upgraded.

With respect to the history

It is indeed true that SCIENCE IT in collaboration with the Department of Biology published the first information letter on October 30th 2013 fully aware that the transition would take place in January 2014.

The email was sent to BIO.STAFF and contained a link to a questionnaire covering the 3 IT-projects Department of Biology was to go through in the coming months. It was underlined that responding to the questionnaire was of vital importance to a secure transition.

During the next 2 months in all 7 reminders were issued by Department of Biology. 3 by email to BIO.STAFF and 4 in Section Head meetings (ref. Minutes of these meetings and your local Section meetings) to ensure personal communication locally.

On the 21st of January we “froze” the overall information to enable the detailed planning of the transition.

By 21st of January only 80% of the staff had answered the questionnaire. During the next week an additional 12 % registered their answers.

Thus the data of 8 % is still missing even though the information is vital for both SCIENCE PC, Lync and the upcoming mailmigration. Most of those who answered late have been accommodated with a first come first served approach, despite the havoc to the detailed plans.

31th of October, the day after the initial BIO.STAFF email, a dedicated email to the Sections Heads at Department of Biology was sent. The main topic of this email was to make sure that all research equipment was identified and registered in order to ensure safe transition. The process initiated led to a report from each Section, identifying the relevant equipment and a responsible point of contact for each piece to allow direct dialogue with SCIENCE IT. These reports were ready early December and have indeed formed the basis for the subsequent dialogue between the appointed contacts and SCIENCE IT on the practical transition of the research equipment to the new network servers.

SCIENCE IT was invited to give presentations at Department Section Head meetings on the 17th of September and 10th of December (ref. Briefs on substance from your Section Head and minutes of the meetings).

On these occasions SCIENCE IT reiterated the standing offer to give presentations at Section and Research Group level.

Regrettably only 2 sections took the offer.

Late December the process of identifying the many directories associated with the – over the years heavily mergered – Department of Biology commenced. This identification was conducted in close cooperation with the Section Heads to ensure that the data transition was correct and the rights allocated accurate. The cooperation resulted in a mapping of all identified directories and subdirectories. The mapping was elaborated by Section Heads and finally endorsed mid-January.

Thus a lot of information and collaboration between Department of Biology (management, section heads, users) have taken place in the past months.

Pepijns comments imply that, he has probably not kept abreast.

From both SCIENCE IT’s as well as the Biology Administration Manager’s side everything possible has been done, with the time and resources that have been available from the Department and SCIENCE IT.

No longer connected:

As the communication to the users has repeatedly stated the changes coming with Science PC serve multiple purposes.
Change from the soon (08.04.14) no longer supported Win XP to Win 7
1) A complete reorganization of the network
2) A domain change
3) Moving data to a new, upgraded storage system

It goes without saying that authentication of users and the shortcuts that were previously used to access data will no longer work when the transition is complete. Therefore, a reconfiguration of the individual computers is necessary – even if they had Windows 7 installed.

Although the Faculty of SCIENCE’s IT-policy requires, that users do not store data locally on their computer and SCIENCE IT thus, formally speaking, can delete everything on the machine without prompting, we have chosen – for the sake of the users- , that the deletion should be approved in writing, before the computer is upgraded. A precaution that should be considered an offer not a harassment.

Need Linux geomomic data / Are we a special case?

SCIENCE IT supports Linux, Mac and Windows. This has been clearly communicated.

So the comments in this paragraph must be based on a fundamental misconception.

Had Pepijn chosen to take in the information provided, he would know that SCIENCE IT
1) do not reconfigure Linux or even Macs during this upgrade – but offer help to reconfigure data paths and printers etc. on these machines.
2) SCIENCE IT offer dual-boot for those users who need both Windows and Linux or Windows and OSX.
3) If you already have a dual-boot machine, it´s a special case that will be handled separately to ensure that data/configuration are not lost.

This has been addressed and solved in several Sections at Department of Biology.

Please Clarify:

Here I must – again – refer to the information provided, including the folder (both in Danish and English), which SCIENCE IT places physically on every computer after reinstallation. Additionally – as also communicated – SCIENCE IT’s local support was manned by 35 experienced permanent IT staff on the migration days (there are 10 more in the back office – networking people, server people and servicedesk), so help was available on all floors and in all buildings.

In conclusion, I regret that we have to spend so much time on this kind of communication at the University. Pepijn could simply have turned to SCIENCE IT and gotten the answers above – there is no need to involve the entire University on such an incorrect basis as it only causes unnecessary concern for his department colleagues.

Andy Wierød
It-chef SCIENCE IT, Faculty of SCIENCE

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